Roaring Lion struggling for identity

RUPESH SAMANT (PTI), PANAJI | 11 November 2011 16:24 IST

In the Golden Jubilee Year of Goa’s Liberation, the regional party which ruled the state in its heydays after its liberation from Portuguese rule, is struggling to save its identity.

The forthcoming Goa legislative Assembly election brings tough challenge for the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) to retain its symbol of `Lion’, which is synonym with it since its inception in the year 1963.

MGP General Secretary Lavu Mamledar said the party will have to win at least 85,000 votes or two seats for the 2012 Goa assembly election to retain its prestigious symbol.

“We are strong in 15 constituencies out of 40 and we should be able to get 5 seats with ease,” said Mamledar, a former police officer, who joined the party half-a-decade ago.

He said the party would be able to achieve its target, given the support it has been garnering.

When Goa breathed free air from 450-year-long Portuguese colonial rule in the year 1961, the first ever elections in 1963 saw people imposing their faith in MGP.

The party continued ruling the state till 1979 before Congress tightened its grip on the state’s political scene.

And since then, the party has been skidding down.

“Political party has to be like a living being. It should adapt to the changes. MGP failed to do it and hence is in shambles now,” reacted Ramakant Khalap, now a Congressman but earlier the MGP leader.

The records indicate that the Lion roared on the shoulders of first Chief Minister Dayanand Bandodkar and then his daughter Shashikala Kakodkar.

Later, when in 1973 she deserted the party to join the Congress, Khalap took up the challenge and spearheaded the party, but only as the main opposition.

The party was propagating merger of Goa into Maharashtra but did not find favour in the historic Opinion Poll held on 16 January 1967.

Majority people voted for Goa as an independent entity.

Interestingly, despite being rejected by the people in opinion poll, the party managed to win the next state Assembly election.

Khalap said `the change in nomenclature and ideology would have saved MGP from reaching this stage where it is now confined to only two constituencies.’

“People, especially younger generation could not identify themselves to the nomenclature Maharashtrawadi (means pro-Maharashtra). There was suggestion to change the name to Maha-Rashtrawadi means great nationalist or something like Rashtrawadi means nationalist,” said Khalap.

He even represented the party the Parliament as the Union Law minister.

The party, which is now in alliance with Congress-led government, had joined hands with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during 1994 state election.

Khalap said that this was one of the factors why party’s voters’ base plummeted.

“BJP was a major stumbling block for the MGP. After the emergence of BJP, MGP voters started shifting towards that party,” Khalap said.

The party which is now trying to rework on its thinking was considered as a favourite party amongst non-Brahmin Hindus.

But the leadership has now taken a complete 180 degree change.

“The party does not have any political thought to attract masses. They are confined only to two constituencies,” Raju Nayak, a political analyst and journalist told PTI.

He also blamed the inclination of the party towards right wing institutions like Sanatan Saunstha, as a reason as its pitfall.

Sanatan Saunstha’s investigation after unsuccessful attempt of serial bomb blast at Margao had found certain links to MGP leader Ramakrishna Dhavalikar, in the form of his wife, who was working full time for the organisation.

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Mr/Miss/Mrs Goan,

The pro-maharashtra days of MGP are over. Come off it. Now it is Dhavlikarwadi Paksh, interested in filling their coffers only. It is also a power broker party sometimes.Dhavlikars are the last bastion of this party playing on money and emotions. Once they are finished so will be MGP. Anyway, it is the party without any vision or philosophy.

- Goan_brother, Canada | 14 th November 2011 05:32

 

MGP is like headless chicken,they dont know whether their idealogy matches congress or BJP, they can form govt with any party as long as they get power continuosly and PWD portfolio,even if they dont get pwd portfolio they know how to take out gold from mud,let that portfolio be Transport Dept.

this is realty of MGP.,,,,,,,,,,in short younger brother of congress.

- Dilip Naik, Ponda | 12 th November 2011 22:36

 

MGP is an Anti-Goan Party! MGP is a Pro-Maharashtrian Party!!

- Goan, Goa | 11 th November 2011 22:45

 

Mr. Ramakant Khalap is very right. However, I have some more thoughts on this, such as caste and religion based hatred and overflowing ego accompanying total lack of vision for future development has done MGP in. Some of Tai's anecdotes, true or false, are legends. On the other hand, Bhau's anecdotes show his love for Goa and a lot of flexibility to take unexpected decisions

- Kalidas Sawkar, Panaji Goa | 11 th November 2011 18:36

 

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